AKRON, OH – August 16, 2013 – The bright yellow ball ricocheted off the bat of Charlotte Morgan with a metallic cling that echoed as it hugged the third base line into the green pastures of left field and sent the Akron Racers into the even greener pastures of snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Racers rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat the NY/NJ Comets 6-5 on a walk-off single by Morgan that scored Taylor Schlopy.
Schlopy tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with an RBI triple to the right-center field gap that scored Ayumi Karino, who reached on an error. One batter later, Morgan put the game away for Akron.
Five members of the Racers pitching staff combined to complete the game, with rookie Ivy Renfroe eventually picking up the win. Renfroe threw one pitch in the game, an inning-ending double play ball in the top of the seventh inning that gave Akron some solid momentum heading into the bottom of the inning.
Who would eventually win the ballgame was very unclear until the seventh inning. Just like last night, NY/NJ came out swinging early, getting on the board in the top of the second inning on a solo shot by Courtney Liddle, who also hit a three-run home run last night. The next batter, Brittany McKinney, launched a high fly ball that looked like it had a chance to clear the yard until it landed safely in the glove of Racers center fielder Schlopy as she fell across the fence in deep right-center field, and Racers starter Jen Mineau struck out the next batter to end the early threat.
Akron’s defense continued to shine throughout the game. Right fielder Karino leaped backwards over the fence in right field to end the top of the third inning and rob Amanda Kamekona of a grand slam. The Racers made countless other plays, and the gloves of second baseman Aja Paculba and third baseman Kelley Montalvo particularly stood out. Despite committing one error, Paculba controlled several ground balls that could have eaten her up, and Montalvo anchored the infield from the hot corner as she usually does, snagging grounders that bounced as high as she is tall.
Patience followed by timely hitting finally paid off for the Racers in the bottom of the third inning, when, after two outs and two walks, Charlotte Morgan clobbered a three-run home run that landed on the grass in front of the Firestone Stadium scoreboard in center field to give the home club a 3-1 lead. But the Comets retook the lead in the top of the fifth inning, loading the bases with two outs for Amy Hooks, who hit her first home run of the season in the form of a grand slam that put the Comets ahead 5-3. Taylor Schlopy led off the bottom of that inning with a solo home run to center field to cut the lead in half before playing a key role in the seventh-inning rally.
The Racers and the Comets are scheduled to continue this final regular season series tomorrow evening, Saturday August 17 at 7:05 p.m. During the game Firestone Stadium will go pink for the second time this season in support of the fight against breast cancer and the Racers will auction off their special game-worn pink jerseys, with proceeds benefiting Akron Racers Charities. Tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased online at www.akronracers.org or by calling the ticket office at (330) 376-8188.
-Charlotte Morgan went 2-3 with one run scored and 4 RBI. She hit a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning to give the Racers the lead and the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 7th inning.
-With the win, the Racers both snapped a seven-game losing streak and also surpassed the team’s win total from last season.
SITE: Firestone Stadium
SCORE: Racers 6, Comets 5
RECORDS: Racers (15-31), Comets (9-37)
NEXT RACERS GAME: Saturday, August 17 @ 7:05 p.m. vs. NY/NJ Comets
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play. The Racers kick off their 12th season of play in 2013.
About National Pro Fastpitch: National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
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Written by Nina Zimmerman for the Akron Racers